Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Free is still more than I'd pay (for a Rose of Sharon)

They were giving away free plants this spring at the garden centre, otherwise I would never have got the Rose of Sharon. As it was, I took a small plant home and dug it firmly into Pot 'o Doom, the most exposed of the modernist fibreglass planters. So far it has killed: a much-loved Olive Tree, a Magnolia Stellata, a rather pretty Fuschia and a Bottlebrush Plant. If you're counting (and I am counting) that is one plant a year, although those years have admittedly included a week at -10, severe summer floods, two droughts and a brutally cold spring.

A week after I dug it in, the combined might of slugs and good old competitive Rose of Sharon took out the Frittillaria that had (to my delight) resprouted from the previous year, and I thought, oh well, at least the main plant won't die. Nothing can kill a Rose of Sharon.

Turns out I was wrong about that. As the weather (and the pot) heated up, the Rose dropped off her flowers, turned brown and shed its leaves. I hypothesise that it was one of the large hedge types. Certainly the flowers were huge for the size of the plant. A self-seeded Candytuft briefly made a living in the side of the pot, and the weird unkillable monster that is my Green Trick Carnation is still dangling cheerfully over the side, and there is an alpine strawberry runner with two leaves left on it in the pot, but the Rose of Sharon, the plant that was free because no gardener would put it in their soil at any price, is about to give up the ghost.

I'm still not going to put it in my soil. The moment it hits rich midlands clay, damp with the river, warm with the sun, it will proliferate and murder anything in its shade. To the municipal composter it goes!

And as for Pot O' Doom, well, there's a Buddleija in a potting on pot waiting to be planted out. It can't kill that, surely?

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